Development of pennsylvania bituminous coal mine safety law map requirements and barrier and drilling requirements



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DEVELOPMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA BITUMINOUS COAL MINE SAFETY LAW

MAP REQUIREMENTS AND BARRIER AND DRILLING REQUIREMENTS

Bituminous Underground Mines: Outline of Map Requirements.
(Significant changes from prior version of law are in italics.)
Act of June 30, 1885, P.L. 205, Act 169
Section 1 Every owner, operator or superintendent of bituminous coal mine shall make an accurate map of the mine;
1" = 100'’
Shall show excavations, shafts, etc.;
Accurately delineate boundary lines between adjacent mines operated by others, and show “relation and proximity of workings thereto;”
Kept at mine for use of inspector, or miner who fears that he is working in a place that is becoming dangerous due to proximity to other workings “which may be supposed to contain water or dangerous gas;”
Map shall be accurately updated every six months with new workings;
When workings are driven to within 10 feet of adjacent mine or when any part of the coal mine is abandoned, operator shall give inspector a map of the mine showing portions of workings “in proximity to the boundary line” or abandoned within three months;
Maps given to the inspector are property of the Commonwealth, and to be given to successor;
No copy of map may be made without owner’s consent;

If the inspector believes that the map is “materially inaccurate or imperfect” he may require a new map to be made at the owner/operator’s expense;


If inspector is wrong, the Commonwealth pays.
Act of May 15, 1893, P.L. 52, Act 48
Article I
Section 1. Operator or superintendent must make an accurate map of the coal mine. Map must be no less than 1" = 200' and prepared by a competent engineer or surveyor.
– The map must accurately delineate the boundary line between the coal mine and other mines and coal lands (Fourth);
– The map must accurately delineate the “relation and proximity” of the “workings of said mine to every other adjoining mine or coal lands” (Fourth);
– The map shall be kept in the general office of the mine for the use of mine inspectors and for other persons working in the mine “whenever said person or persons shall have cause to fear that any working place is becoming dangerous by reason of its proximity to other workings that may contain water or dangerous gas” (Sixth);
Section 2. The map must be updated every 6 months, or more often if necessary. Whenever workings are driven to their destination “a correct measurement of all such workings or excavations shall be made promptly and recorded in a survey book before the removal of pillars ... .”;
Section 3. Within six months of the Act’s passage (November, 1893), the mine shall provide the state inspector a copy of the mine map. The mine shall update the map once a year or twice (if the inspector requires it). The mine maps are official records in the mine inspector’s custody, and are to be transferred to the inspector’s successor;
No person may copy the map without the company’s approval;
Section 4. Mine inspector may require operator to do a survey if the operators fails to provide a map or if the inspector thinks that the map is wrong. If the inspector is mistaken the Commonwealth pays for the survey.

Act of June 9, 1911, P.L. 756

Article II


Section 1. Operator or superintendent must make an accurate map of the coal mine. Map must be no less than 1" = 200' and prepared by a competent engineer or surveyor.
– The map must accurately delineate the boundary line between the coal mine and other mines and coal lands, and “relation and proximity” of mine workings to adjoining mines or coal lands (Second);
– The map must show elevation in rooms or entries adjacent to boundary line between mine and adjoining mine(s) on at least 300 foot centers (Third);
The map must show location and elevation of any water dammed or held back in any portion of the mine, and the area of the water (unless inaccessible) (Third);

Section 2. When mine workings are within 300 feet of boundary line between mine and adjoining mines, operator or foreman shall ask mine inspector for information on the location of the adjoining mine, if the workings of the adjoining mine are within 300 feet of the boundary, the operator (of first mine) shall survey the adjacent mine and place its location on its map. On inspector’s written authorization, first mine’s engineer or surveyor may have access to the adjacent mine to survey (Note: this appears to be a 600 foot requirement);


Section 3. Copy of map shall be maintained at mine office for inspector, mine inspector and miners who fear that the area where they are working is becoming dangerous due to “proximity to other workings that may contain dangerous accumulations of water of noxious gases;”
Section 4. At least every six months, operator or superintendent shall update mine map and copy to show “excavations” made since the last revision;
Mine inspector may require operator to do a survey (and update of map) when, in the inspector’s opinion, the mine is approaching accumulations of “water or noxious gases;”
When excavations are driven to destination operator or superintendent shall require mine engineer to check work and notes to certify map (see Section 6);

Section 5. Operator shall provide a copy of the updated mine map, or a blueprint every six months;


The mine maps are official records in the mine inspector’s custody, and are to be transferred to the inspector’s successor. No one may copy or obtain information from the map without the operator’s consent, except to determine location of adjacent mine workings (Section 2);
Section 6 Within 60 days of abandoning or working-out a mine, the operator shall revise the inspectors’ map to show worked-out or abandoned areas, property lines, etc.;
Within sixty days abandonment of mine, owner or operator shall send tracing of the mine map (provided to Inspector) to Department of Mines to be kept “as a public document.” Engineer shall certify that the tracing is true and accurate and that original is a “true complete and correct map and survey of all the excavations made in said abandoned mine;”
Section 7 Mine inspector has reason to believe that the map provided by the operator is inaccurate he may require a new survey and a new map to be made. Operator is responsible for the cost of the survey if the prior map was inaccurate; Commonwealth pays if the prior map was accurate.

Act of July 1, 1937, Act 464, P.L. 2486

(Amending 1911 Act)


Article II
Section 6. When a mine is “indefinitely or permanently” abandoned operator or superintendent must notify inspector immediately, and within sixty days extend the inspector’s map to show all worked out or abandoned areas, etc.;
Within sixty days of permanent abandonment of mine, owner or operator shall send tracing or print of the mine map (provided to Inspector) to Department of Mines to be kept “as a public document.” Engineer shall certify that tracing or print is true and accurate and that original is a “true, complete and correct map and survey of all the excavations made in said permanently abandoned mine.”
Otherwise 1911 provisions are unchanged. (Due to closing of mines during the Depression?)
Act of July 17, 1961, Act 339, P.L. 659

(map related requirements currently codified at 52 P.S. §§ 701-235 - 701-241)


Article II.
Section 235 Operator or Superintendent shall have a mine map made by registered professional engineer or registered surveyor at a scale of at least 1" = 200'. Map shall include:


  1. Accurate delineation of boundary line between the mine and adjacent mines or coal lands, “relation and proximity” of mine workings to adjacent mines or coal lands;




  1. location and elevation of water dammed or held back in any portion of the mine and the area of the water;

Section 236 If mine workings are within 1,000 feet of boundary line between mine and any “adjoining” mine(s), then operator or superintendent shall ask inspector for information on the location of adjoining mine workings;


If workings are within 1,000 feet of boundary line, then inspector shall tell operator or superintendent who shall survey the adjoining workings;
Inspector may authorize access into adjoining mine by surveyor or engineer to conduct survey;
(Note: This appears to be a 2,000 foot requirement.)

Section 237 Copy of map shall be maintained at mine office for inspector, mine inspector and authorized representatives of miners who fear that the area where they are working is becoming dangerous due to “proximity to other workings that may contain dangerous accumulations of water or noxious gases;”

Section 238 At least every six months, operator or superintendent shall update mine map and copy to show “excavations” made since the last revision;

Section 239 Copy of updated map shall be provided to the inspector every six months. Inspector shall maintain the map(s) in his office as an “official record,” and transfer the map(s) to his successor;


No one may copy or obtain information from the map without the operator’s consent, except as provided by the Act. (for an another operator who’s mining within 1,000 feet of the mine?? See Section 2, above.);
When one operator operates a mine on a seam that overlies another operator’s mine, the two shall exchange maps for the common area(s);

Section 240 When a mine is abandoned for one year of more the operator or superintendent must notify the inspector immediately and, within sixty days, extend the inspector’s map to show all worked out or abandoned areas, etc.;


Within sixty days of such abandonment, mine owner or operator shall send tracing or print of the mine map (provided to Inspector) to Department of Mines to be kept “as a public document.” Engineer shall certify that tracing or print is true and accurate and that original is a “true complete and correct map and survey of all the excavations made in such abandoned mine;”

Section 241 Mine inspector has reason to believe that the map provided by the operator is inaccurate he may require a new survey and a new map to be made. Operator is responsible for the cost if the prior map was inaccurate; Commonwealth pays if the prior map was accurate.



Bituminous Underground Mines: Outline of Barrier and Drilling Requirements.
Act of June 30, 1885, P.L. 205, Act 169
No drilling requirements.

Act of May 15, 1893, P.L. 52, Act 48
Article V
Section 3. – In any place being driven toward or in dangerous proximity to an abandoned mine or part of a mine suspected of containing inflammable gasses or which may be inundated with water;
– boreholes shall be “kept” not less than 12 feet in advance of the face;
– and sides not more than eight feet apart.

Article IX


Section 4. – Operator may not mine coal within fifty (50) feet of an abandoned mine containing dangerous accumulations of water;

– until the water has been drained;


– if necessary to protect safety of miners;
– in the opinion of mine inspector and engineer of the property;
– barriers shall be larger, by the following formula:
Pillar thickness = impounded water head/ 1.25

Act of June 9, 1911, P.L. 756, Act ?
Article III
Section 5. – Changed “operator” to “superintendent;”
Otherwise same as Article IX, Section 4 of 1893 Act (barriers).

Article IV


Section 17. – Any “working place” being driven within “supposedly dangerous proximity” to an abandoned mine or portion of an abandoned mine, suspected of containing explosive gas or may contain a dangerous accumulation of water1;
– mine foreman shall see that:
– at least two bore holes are to be “kept” at least 12' in advance of the face;
– and holes of the same depth shall be drilled diagonally into the side (“rib”) not more than 8 feet apart.


Act of April 10, 1929, P.L. 472, Act 1902

(Amending 1911 Act)


Article III
Section 5Superintendent may not mine coal within fifty (50) feet of an abandoned

(Barriers) mine containing dangerous accumulations of water;

– until the water has been drained;
Superintendent may not mine coal if there are workings within 3,000 feet of property line;
Superintendent shall, at a minimum, leave a barrier of unmined coal between workings and property line calculated by the following formula:
Barrier = 10 ft. + (2 x seam thickness) ft.

+ (5 x (distance from mine roof to surface/100))
– If one side of the property has already been mined closer than allowed by the formula, a larger barrier shall be left on the other side to compensate;
– However:
– mine inspector may require a larger barrier if, in his opinion, a larger barrier is needed;
– if superintendents of the adjoining mines agree that no barrier is needed, then they may mine to the property line, if gas and water accumulations are drained;
– disputes to be settled by appeal to board of 3 commissioners appointed by Secretary.

Article IV


Section 17. Changed the requirements for advance drilling from 12 feet to 20 feet.

(Drilling/

Barrier)
Act of July 1, 1937, Act 464, P.L. 2486

(Amending 1911 Act)


Article IV
Section 17. Expanded coverage from “an abandoned mine or portion of an abandoned mine” to “any portion of an abandoned mine, or idle portion of an active mine.”
(Possibly in response to the Depression?)
Act of May 31, 1947, P.L. 381
Article III
Section 5. Expanded coverage by eliminating requirements that coal mining must be occurring within 3,000 feet. Now applies to any property;
Mine inspector also now participates in the decision that mining up to the property line is safe and acceptable.

Act of July 17, 1961, Act 339, P.L. 659

(map related requirements currently codified at 52 P.S. § 701-224(b))


Article II
Section 224. Whenever the working place approaches within 50 feet of abandoned workings of the same mine, shown by registered engineer or surveyor surveys, or;
Within 200 feet of any other abandoned workings of the same mine, which cannot be inspected and may contain dangerous accumulations of water or gas, or;
Within 200 feet of any workings of an adjacent mine;
Mine foreman shall see that a borehole or boreholes are drilled to a distance of at least 20 feet in advance of the working face;
Boreholes shall be close enough to avoid “holing” into the adjacent mine;
Boreholes shall be drilled into the rib (side) no more than 8 feet apart at a 45 degree angle;
Enough rib boreholes shall be drilled as are needed to protect the miners;
It is unlawful to work any portion of a mine which has water held back or dammed at a higher elevation, unless the Secretary approves;

Section 291 Superintendent may not mine coal within fifty (50) feet of an abandoned mine containing dangerous accumulations of water;

– until the water has been drained;

– Superintendent may not mine coal if there are workings within 3,000 feet of property line;


– Superintendent shall, at a minimum, leave a barrier of unmined coal between workings and property line calculated by the following formula:
Barrier = 10 ft. + (2 x seam thickness) ft.

+ (5 x (distance from mine roof to surface/100))


– If one side of the property has already been mined closer than allowed by the formula, a larger barrier shall be left on the other side to compensate;
– However:
– if, in the opinion of mine inspector and superintendent of either property, the calculated barrier is insufficient, a larger barrier will be required;
the thickness of the barrier is left to the judgement of the mine inspector and superintendent or owner;
– if the mine inspector and superintendents of the adjoining mines agree that no barrier is needed, then they may mine to the property line, if gas and water accumulations are drained;
– disputes to be settled by appeal to the Secretary.

NOTE: Act of December 22, 1959, P.L. 1994 (“Safety Zone Act”), 52 P.S. 3101-09
Section 1 Prohibits mining within 200 feet, measured horizontally, of any

(52 P.S. § 3101) “stream, river, or other natural or artificial body of water in the Commonwealth that is sufficiently large to constitute a hazard to mining” in the Department’s opinion.


Sections 2 &3 Operators may apply to the Department to mine within the Safety

(52 P.S. §§ 3102-03) Zone.




1  This language change may be a response to the Supreme Court’s decision in D’Jorko v. Berwind-White Coal Mining Co., 231 Pa. 164, 80 A. 77 (1911). In that case the Court found there was insufficient evidence to show that the workings were in “dangerous proximity” to workings “suspected of containing” gas or water.

2  This change was recommended by a Commission appointed by the Governor to address barrier pillars. The Commission concluded that twenty feet was more representative of a typical cut. See Report of The Barrier Pillar Commission Of Pennsylvania (Bituminous District) To The General Assembly, reprinted in the 1927-28 Pennsylvania Department of Mines, Bituminous Report.








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